June has arrived, and with it my next set of challenges. After two weekends off with no races, I was itching to get muddy again. This time the hubby and I took a bit of a road trip, choosing to spend the night before the race nearby as it’s the furthest I’ve travelled yet for the privileged of getting covered in mud.
The race was a 10km Obstacle race located at Shuckburgh Hall, near Daventry and when we arrived it was chucking it down. We quickly went and found the registration tent and got our race numbers, took a quick snap by the start-line and then went and hid in the car until it was time to race.
After huddling in the car watching the torrential downpour we went up to the start to wait in one of the tents until it was time for the warm up. Thankfully the rain started to ease off as we did the rather cramped warm up, and by the time the race started the rain had stopped completely – the OCR gods smiled on me once again.
Once we started, the course took us straight away up a fairly steep hill, nothing like warming your legs up by trying to convince them to run up a slope, at the top of the hill we were then treated to a couple of low timber A-frames to climb over before heading into some woodland and then down into a couple of pretty smelly, black looking bits of water.
I have to say that at this point I almost despaired at the amount of MEN who were acting like wimps when it came to getting in the water, it’s frustrating to get held up over nothing, and those guys seriously needed some MTFU pills – just get in and get out people!
There was a lot of running through woodland, which was thick with mud, this race was really going to live up to its name, it was slippery and deep in places, and people were sliding around all over the place. My inov-8 X-Talon 212’s performed well though and I was able to keep my balance and was not slipping around as much as others. At the top of another hill we had to navigate our way through a “spiders web” of ropes strung up between some trees, then off through more mud and woodland. Even the areas with no man made obstacles were fun to run through, there were lots of trees to clamber over, under and round making this a really enjoyable race.
We later came to a deep pond, which you either had to swim, or pull yourself across using the rope – I found this the quickest method. It was cold, but quite refreshing as the day was turning out quite warm. Once out of the pond it was straight over another timber A-frame set over a fence.
A run up another hill, more woods and lots more mud, down some steep slippery slopes and under a cargo net and then up again to get to the first of two slides, this one was long but fairly shallow gradient, and was fun to leap down on your belly. Up again, and some more muddy woods and hills.
The mud was so thick and slippery that even my shoes, which have great grip, where sliding around. I saw a lot of people hit the deck as they tried to get through the mud in normal trainers. At this point I would like to say that some people really should take a bit more care when racing. By all means race to win, go as fast as you can, push yourself – its why we are there after all, but don’t act like a total idiot! The number of people that were trying to run down really muddy banks in inappropriate footwear and just falling over was astounding. Now this in itself doesn’t bother me, if you want to kill yourself I won’t stand in your way, however when you nearly take me down with you I have a problem! If I break my leg doing something stupid fine, but if I break a limb because of someone else and their stupidity I might have a bit more to say about it. Race safely people!
Once we had (safely) navigated some more muddy woods and hills we came to a second slide. This one was shorter but much steeper and it was fast, I shot off the bottom and skidded through yet more mud. It was great fun. Yet more running, yet more hills, some pretty steep, past some cannons (yup cannons) and then through a couple more deep pools.
Getting towards the end of lap one you had some large tires to crawl through and then down to where there were some hay bails (and a friendly marshal) to help you up and over a large box.
At the end of the lap, if you were doing the 10k you took a right and started the second lap, which was pretty much the same as the first, but they did add a few tweaks and changed the course slightly to keep things interesting. First you had to get over what they called the tower – a high obstacle that you had to climb – or do a forfeit run down the field and back. I actually made it over, despite my fear of heights, without too much drama and a little friendly encouragement from my fellow racers. Then it was on back up the first hill.
At the top of the first slide hubby Phil and I paused to pose for the photographer and then it was back off down into hills, woods and mud mud mud.
The second slide was even faster the second time around, and everything was getting even muddier as more people had travelled the course. We had started to catch up to some of the 5km runners so things were getting a bit busier, but I still felt fairly fresh despite being on the second go round and I was really enjoying myself.
As we got to the end, this time we took the left path, leaving us one final obstacle – a slightly taller A-frame timber structure to climb, then we gave our numbers to the guys doing the timing and went to claim our medals and beers!
The day had turned out lovely, which made getting changed much easier – as did my wonderful dryrobe, which I’ve mentioned in other posts. MSB also provided buckets, sponges, soap and water for a quick rub down which was nice as we had a long drive to do after.
The medal for this race is so cool I think it deserves its own picture – it even doubles as a bottle opener.
This was a really fun, enjoyable race, I think I was grinning all the way round. It was over great, challenging terrain, and had some good obstacles. It would be a great race for a first time runner too, as it had a few opt out points where you could take an easier route , for example to avoid the really deep pond. They also allow kids to participate (with a willing adult) in the 5km option so it could be a fun family outing. If I get the chance I will certainly run one again. It was well worth the trip.